So recently, I was exposed to the sometimes dark and twisted, sometimes bright and beautiful world of Hellblade.
If, like a me of the not so distant past, you haven’t yet been exposed to this 4K masterpiece, we recommend you watch this video commentary, featuring a fight between the protagonist Senua and the Valravn God of Illusion.
What Exactly is Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice?
This visual feast is a game 14 years in the making.
Produced by Ninja Theory, whose previous contributions to the gaming world include a couple of Devil May Cry titles, the best-selling PS3 game Heavenly Sword and the under-performing, but well received, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.
A hack-and-slash, horror-thriller, Hellblade combines Norse and Celtic mythology in a game that explores deep psychological themes, the borders between fantasy and reality, and hell itself.
Currently, Hellblade is only available on the PS4 and Windows platforms, although as it is not a PS4 console exclusive, there is a possibility that Xbox One gamers will see the title in the future.
Because the game has only just been released, August 8th 2017, and it comes from a small-time developer, it hasn’t received the masses of coverage that games from bigger names in the gaming world would. But does that mean it can’t rival titles with more money behind them?
Dubbed, an ‘independant AAA’ title, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice has a lot to offer gamers, both serious and casual.
Why Play Hellblade?
All of us at THG have had plenty of experience playing video games, but we also unanimously agreed that Hellblade brought something new to the table. Entering the world feels like a fresh gaming experience. So what exactly makes Ninja Theory’s latest game worth picking up?
- The Dark Themes — We won’t spoil too much of the story, but there is a huge focus in Hellblade on the psychological state of the character and her perception of reality. The level designs, demonic foes and use of sound and visuals create an unsettling, dark world that is very much unique to Hellblade.
- The Combat System — The combat system in Hellblade isn’t ground-breaking or innovative, but it does have something many games lack: weight. The strikes feel powerful, as do the knocks your character receives. You really feel the struggle behind movements, especially when you take damage and become fatigued. It isn’t your typical, weightless, hack-and-slash combat system. It feels more realistic. Like fighting is a strain.
- The Sound Design — The sound design within Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is brilliantly done. It makes the combat feel all the more deadly, it ramps up the tension during the game’s more horror-focused points and the voices constantly chattering in your character’s ear cement it as an unsettling psychological experience.
- The Visuals — There is no doubt about it: Hellblade is a stunning game. Whether you are gaming on a top spec PC or your standard PS4, the world is full of immersive visuals that reel you into the game. A lack of any sort of HUD display, combined with the camera movements and character design, makes for a truly cinematic experience.